Animal rights campaigners are urging Gordon Ramsay to stop serving foie gras at his New York restaurant The London after exposing cruel practices at a factory farm, which supplies the top chef with his pate, in a harrowing new video.
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (Peta) officials have sent footage they obtained from inside Hudson Valley Foie Gras, the upstate New York farm that produces the liver pate his Manhattan restaurant serves to diners, to Ramsay along with a letter requesting he pulls the item from his menu.
And the animal rights activists are now offering broadcast-quality clips from the video filmed by their insiders during an investigation of the factory farm to media outlets.
The footage features Hudson Valley Foie Gras workers shoving steel tubes down ducks' throats and dumping grain into their bodies three times a day in order to enlarge the birds' livers.
Peta spokeswoman Wendy Wegner says, "At slaughter, ducks are hung upside down, have their throats slit, and are left to bleed to death. Experts have found that force-feeding causes esophageal tears and splits, liver rupture and failure, heat stress, and aspiration pneumonia - and, by the company's own admission, some 15,000 ducks on the farm die every year before they make it to slaughter."
Peta's senior research associate Dan Paden adds, "Every expose of foie gras farms has revealed how grotesquely cruel it is to jam pipes down birds' throats and force-feed them until they sicken and die. We hope Gordon Ramsay and other chefs will swear off this particular 'f-word' - foie gras - for good."
A request for a comment from a Hudson Valley Foie Gras representative was not returned as Wenn went to press.
Peta bosses have launched a number of attacks on foie gras suppliers in recent months and their efforts partly prompted lawmakers in California to ban the luxury pate in the state. Pressure from animal rights activists in Europe, where foie gras production is largely banned, has prompted top British stores Selfridges and Harvey Nichols to stop stocking the pate, and activists have been joined by celebrities like Roger Moore and Brigitte Bardot in an ongoing campaign aimed at forcing bosses at top English store Fortnum & Mason to pull foie gras from shelves.